Multi-Facet MDM

In MDM (Master Data Management) there is the term Multi-Domain MDM being how we manage respectively parties, products, locations and other entity types and handling master data within a Multi-Channel environment encompassing offline, online and social channels is a huge challenge within MDM today. Yet another multi view of MDM is handling different facets of master data being:

  • Mulit-Facet MDMEntities
  • Relations
  • Events


Handling entities is the core of master data management. Ensuring that master data are fit for multiple purposes most often by ensuring real world alignment is the basic goal of master data management. Entity resolution is at key discipline in doing that. In the party master data domain doing Customer Data Integration (CDI) is the good old activity aiming at compiling all the customer data silos in the enterprise into a golden copy with golden records. Product Information Management (PIM) is another ancestor in the MDM evolution history predominately focusing at the entities.


A possible distinction between Master Entity Management and Master Relation Management is discussed in the post Another Facet of MDM: Master Relationship Management.

As we get better and better solutions for handling entities the innovation shifts to handling the relationships between entities. These relations exists for example in Multi-Channel environments by linking entities in the old systems of record with the same real world entities in the new systems of engagement as told in the post Social MDM and Systems of Engagement.


Getting the master data right the first time is crucial.

In product master data management getting to that stage is often done by managing a flow of events where the product data are completed and approved by a team of knowledge workers.

In party master data management a way of ensuring first time right is examined in the post instant Single Customer View. But that is only the start. Party master data has a life cycle with important events as:

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5 thoughts on “Multi-Facet MDM

  1. John O'Gorman 7th November 2013 / 21:10

    Hi Henrik;

    I’ve often wondered why companies don’t extend the concept of MDM to include all of a business vocabulary, including dates, states and rates (etc.). The short answer might be that if we are challenged doing master entities, what hope do we have doing the vastness of human language…

  2. John Owens 8th November 2013 / 03:25

    Hi Henrik

    All that you say is true, apart from ‘relationship management’.

    The ‘relationships’ between Master Entities are actually the transactional entities of the enterprise, such as Sale, Purchase, etc.

    In Multi-Dimensional MDM the definition of Master Entities is ‘those entities, which when joined through a commercial transaction, generate revenue or create value’.

    So, when Product is joined to Party through the commercial transaction of Sale, revenue is generated. This qualifies Party and Product as Master Entities.

    The management of the relationships between Master Entities is already taken care of by the day-to-day management of the commercial operations of the enterprise.

    MDM practitioners must be very careful not to try an introduce another pseudo management function targeted at managing phantom relationships, as to do so would risk bringing the whole subject of MDM into disrepute.

    Kind regards

  3. Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen 8th November 2013 / 09:15

    Thanks for commenting Johns.

    Regarding relationships there are indeed relationships to be found in internal data. The question is if relationships found in external data are phantom ones to be left alone or if MDM can help in building a more complete picture of our business partners. Personally I’m convinced we can do that and that we can find business value in doing so.

    • FX Nicolas 8th November 2013 / 11:25

      Very interesting post, Henrick.

      We see lot of opportunities in the management or Master Data relations. Yet, the big question that I have is : Are they truly master data as we know it? Certainly not. They seem to be almost impossible to manage as we manage parties/product, due to their external nature. I see them as data I can *refer to* (so not to be ignored), but also data that I would not try to absorb or manage internally (cannot be controlled). This data comes from sources (social networks and such) that are simply beyond my control.

      If you want to find an analogy, consider that MDM as we know it is like “Domestic Governance”. It is possible to govern a country with a governance team, but “Relations and Social Data” require “Diplomacy”. Even the biggest countries in this world cannot govern the world and have to rely on diplomacy. You need to be more subtle and cautious, and extend your governance structure with the equivalent of a Foreign Office.

      My 2 cents.

  4. John O'Gorman 8th November 2013 / 16:04

    I tend to think of Master Data as having the following characteristics:


    I deliberately align my vocabulary characteristics with the ACID concept of database reliability. The net effect of doing this is discoverying that there is a continuum of reliability across *combinations* of elemental values. On one end are things like Place Names, Coordinates and Concepts related to Location. For example, the elements: London, England, Berkeley Square and 51.510011,-0.144775 ‘live’ and associate persistently. On the other end, elements like Product, Party, Sale and Revenue are less stable in combination. The intersect concept mentioned by John Owens provides a great example: two intersecting classes (Party and Product) does not necessarily produce Revenue. At least one more intersect is required: Status. The given intersect (A Party in a Role of Customer) can ‘occupy’ several quantum states at one time (New, Prospective, Repeat, Preferred, High Risk) the exact determination of which is not made until a fourth intersect (The Sale) is realized. Social media also lives at the the dynamic end of the spectrum.

    Proof of the existence in the continuum is demonstrated in the confidence level when asking several individuals the following:

    “Where is Berkeley Square House?” vs “How many customers do we have?”

    While I agree with FX Nicholas that control of Internal vs External Master Data is different, it is not impossible. The trick is to know what is stable and what is not. There is actually a prayer written to help Master Data addicts with this very challenge:

    God, grant me the serenity to Accept the data I cannot change; the Courage to change the data I can and the Wisdom to know the difference.

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